What did “NEX” achieve in my world?

I’m writing this post because I want to deliver some information to guys in North America / Europe. Their opinions / preferences I saw and read in their medias like SonyAlphaRumors are quite difference than where I live in.

I was born and living in Shanghai, China. Although I had a few touches to cameras before primary school, when I really started to learn about taking pictures and bought my first camera was the spring of 2012, with a NEX-5N.

In pre-NEX era, public around me (friends I knew, medias I read, TV shows I watched, etc.) usually believe (may not be truth, but they did believe):

  • Canon
    • King of the photography world.
    • Some people also knew about EOS, but people always said “Canon” instead of “EOS“.
    • The most famous camera is 5D Mark II. It has a nickname “the invulnerable rabbit” because in Chinese it pronounces similar to “5D2”. Tons of people who knew nothing about photography knew this camera and this is the only camera they knew and wanted to buy.
    • Most popular in young related to other brands.
  • Nikon
    • Sharp.
    • Super complex, difficult to use, only pros older than 40 use them.
    • No outstanding camera compare to 5D Mark II.
    • Nikon has no product line name like EOS.  But similar to EOS, their other product line name like Nikkor was rarely known.  People mostly said “Nikon lens” instead.
  • Olympus, Pentax, Leica, Zeiss, Sigma, etc.
    • “What’s that?”
  • Panasonic
    • “Very good, my washer, rice cooker, TV, fridge are all Panasonic… What?! They produce cameras?”
  • Fuji, Kodak
    • Film manufacturers.
    • “Are they still alive?”
  • Sony
    • Electric junk.
    • Japanese junk.
    • They knew nothing about optics.
    • Sony products usually broke apart immediately once warranty expired.
    • Their compact cameras looked beautiful.
    • Only few people knew that Sony also produce DLSRs because their grandpas owned an A900.
    • Nobody knew Alpha.  Even A900 is just a “Sony camera”.

And then, once NEX came here:

  • At first other mirrorless manufacturers like Olympus and Panasonic called their mirrorless “single electric camera” against traditional “single reflex camera” (in Chinese the abbreviation of “SLR” drops that “L”).  But Sony called their SLT cameras (like a77) “single electric camera” and called their mirrorless (NEX) “micro single camera”.  This made huge confusion in consumers.
  • Sony‘s “micro single camera” won the naming battle soon and easily.  Just after a short time, although unofficially, consumers also called those MFT mirrorless cameras “micro single camera”.
  • Then, Sony got the trademark of “micro single camera” in China.  Now we have to say “微单TM“.  As a result, the word “mirrorless” came to China.  But in the public, “micro single camera” is still the most famous name even now.
  • Mirrolesses almost instantly killed compact cameras (until RX100 came).
  • NEX series easily and quickly shined out of all mirrorlesses, because its larger sensor compare to its tiny body.
  • Sony’s camera business revived in China just because of NEX.

By the end of NEX‘s golden era (before a6000).

  • NEX got its nick name “milkshake” because the Chinese word of “milkshake” pronounce similar to “NEX“.
  • Many young people started to believe those DSLRs are outdated while NEX was the fashion.  Not only because it was lighter, smaller, cheaper, equally IQ, but also because it looked very beautiful unlike the “spittoon-alike” DSLR design.
  • Many people who know nothing about photography asked me: “I heard you’re using a micro-single.  I want to buy one! Give me some suggestion!”  And gave me a wishlist full of NEXs.  Mostly I had to said: “Go and buy a RX100 instead, that’s very enough to you.”  If back to 3 years ago, those people would ask nothing and buy a 5D Mark II directly.
  • I tried to ask some girls who also know nothing about photography: “Which camera do you want most?” And most of them replied me “NEX!!!” in less than one second with many “!!!”.
  • Most of NEX users would never buy another lens.
  • The brand awareness of Leica and Zeiss skyrocketed in few years.
  • The price of used Leica lenses also skyrocketed in few years.  The most terrible one, a old version of 35’cron, reached more than 5 times pricy.
  • NEX was the only camera managed to shake the traditional conception of camera in China, “big + black + heavy + thick + tough = good”, although only slightly.
  • NEX was the only camera managed to defend a piece of camera market from iPhone.
  • People usually said “NEX” instead of “Sony” or “Sony camera”.  NEX is the only product line name made to overtake the manufacturer’s name like that.  Although all people who knew NEX did know NEX is a Sony product, they said “I have a NEX.”, “I want to buy a NEX“, “I love NEX“.  Even EOS failed to do that.
  • The public still know nothing about Alpha as well as any A-mount camera.

When Sony announced that they will discontinue the name of “NEX” and use “Alpha” for all their cameras, I heard a lot of complains (included my own) like “Are they crazy?”, “‘NEX‘ is much more popular than ‘Alpha‘”, “Do you know what the fxxk is that ‘Alpha‘?”, “They should call all their cameras ‘NEX‘.”, “‘Alpha‘ sounds like a brand name of water from Alps!”, bla bla bla…

To me, the name changing did disappoint me, the design of a7 series too disappointed me.  After changing my a7 to an a7R then to a a7S again, I’m now quite sure that a7 is not my long-waited NEX-9.  It just has nothing to do with NEX but simply another camera with E-mount.  The announcement of a7II confirmed my thought, Sony is going farther and farther on their dream way of fighting Canon and Nikon in a open battle.  I’ve put all my hope on the rumored a5 which appeared to come more than 1 year ago, which is still no more than a rumor.  I guess the NEX was just like a super massive star shines in the sky.  It’s bright, then quickly dies in a supernova.